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30 July 2006

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victoria

Hi Kristie, I sure do hear you. Having recently lost a bulldog to 'died in her sleep' and earlier having treated another bulldog's heart ailments to the tune of many thousands of dollars, and losing her (of course)- they are differently traumatic, but traumatic nonetheless. I believe (with fervor) that my new standard poodle- holistically weaned, from a raw fed dam, with minimal vaccination and a raw diet will prove my 'believer' status. I only can enjoy each day with this fabulous boy and be ready to spend more than I can imagine. These are not rational questions- but they need to be asked. Thanks for your blog- Victoria

Christie Keith

I'm so sorry for your loss, Victoria... thank you for commenting!

Great Dane Addict

Very sincere post. I'm glad you posted it. It's unfortunate that owning and loving dogs also has a high price-tag, in your wallet AND your heart.

Christie Keith

Thanks for reading and commenting. I'm not really sure where I'm even going with this - maybe it's just a phase I'm passing through.

Judi

This is one of the most awesome posts I have ever read. Thank you for putting this together and publishing it.

My own very FIRST dog has cost me the same 5 digits in his almost 6 years on this earth. It hurts so much to have him sick. He is in CHF now and we're onto force feeding him. It sucks that the love we have for our dogs costs us SO %$#@& much.

Judi

Mindy

Yeah, dogs are expensive. So are human kids. But both of them are only expensive when you rear them properly so really, what are the options? They're a package deal.

Money can be replaced. Dogs can't. Really, I think what it all comes down to is doing the very best you can with both the information and the monetary resources that are available and then doing the best that you can. I know that for me personally, when I know that I have truly done my very best then the cards are going to fall where they may - and at least I know in my heart that I tried my hardest.

When Maggie was 15, she had a surgery that cost us a good 5 digits. I know a lot of people, including our vets, thought we were absolutely insane to sink that kind of cash into a 15 year old dog but it wasn't a matter of having the money or not having the money, it was a case of doing what we felt was right for the dog. Mags had spirit, she was a tough old girl and my husband and I both felt that she wasn't finished just yet. The bottom line of that story is that Mags became a cancer survivor and she had one more year that was phenomenal. She eventually chose her time and place and passed naturally.

She gave me one of the best gifts I've ever received in my life. It might have cost us 5 digits, but that gift was priceless. During that last year, she taught me what it's like to live in the moment, appreciate every day for what it is and to love, really love. It was amazing to take a Chow as far as we took Maggie but for all the care we gave her through the years she paid us back that last year a million times over. You just can't buy those kinds of life lessons.

So really, what we paid for that surgery didn't even come into play in the long run. And the irony of it all was that she came into my life as a 2 year old dog who was picked up off the streets. As it turned out, she needed a very expensive surgery which I could not afford at the time. So I put it on plastic and threw caution to the wind for a dog I didn't even know. Talk about karma. Taking her in turned out to be one of the luckiest days of my life.

Mindy

arlo muttrie

I've just started to blog on this subject, and I'm always looking for more input. I'll be writing on this more in the future. My big problem is that we, as vets, have encouraged the public to treat their pets like family, but if they don't have the money to pay some very expensive (note I didn't say overpriced) bills, well, then that's just those owners tough luck, isn't it?

Christie Keith

My own very FIRST dog has cost me the same 5 digits in his almost 6 years on this earth. It hurts so much to have him sick. He is in CHF now and we're onto force feeding him.

Judi, I'm so sorry you and your dog are going through this... and thank you very much for reading and commenting here! I'll keep you both in my thoughts.

Christie Keith

Money can be replaced. Dogs can't. Really, I think what it all comes down to is doing the very best you can with both the information and the monetary resources that are available and then doing the best that you can. I know that for me personally, when I know that I have truly done my very best then the cards are going to fall where they may - and at least I know in my heart that I tried my hardest.

I agree, and yet I also find it horribly painful, TOO painful, to know there is something that might help and not try it for financial reasons. It really hurts to contemplate that.

Christie Keith

I've just started to blog on this subject, and I'm always looking for more input. I'll be writing on this more in the future.

I'm glad to hear that and look forward to reading it! Thank you so much for commenting here!

Eliza Wingate

As a dog rescuer, mother of a very hard working veterinarian and person who lives with (and of course is responsible for) 5 dogs, I know that you can never tell how long an animal has to live. I have a Rottweiler I rescued at 8 weeks. She had been returned to the breeder because of a bad heart. At 4 months, a cardiologist at U C Davis said that Leloo had the worst heart she ever saw and that she might live a year. Well she is now over 5 years old, just tore her cruciate ligament and came through flying. So NOW she is my most expensive dog. She deserves it. She has defied everyone's expectations. For the first few years, I held back my affections, having just lost a dog and thinking she would not be around long.

So it is back to live in the present, love in the present. We just do not have more than the present.

Belinda

The ninjas have been raw-fed for about 10 years now, and I hope never to have to change that...but I can see how easily it could happen, especially now that I have a *human* child who must, of course, come first.

I have had to make a huge sacrifice, though, this year, as concerns my animals. We just moved from a tiny (1100SF) house that was my "bachelorette" house before I married, on 10 acres of lush grass, to a home more than three times that size...but on a mere 5 acres--on a rocky hillside. Not great for my handful of horses.

At first, I just thought, "Oh, well, I'll have to feed more hay, that's all." Um, NO. I have to feed all hay, all the time, even now, in the heart of grass season. And guess what? I can't afford to buy all that hay for that many horses. When we broke it down, we realized that we'd gone from spending an average of $300/month feeding horses, to spending close to $1,000/month! I had no idea how good I had it over on that great pasture land.

So, I am having to give up almost all of my horses. We are keeping my daughter's Shetland pony and my dearest heart-horse who I've had since birth, but I fear that the rest will have to go. I won't sell them--can't bear to do that, but I am trying to find good homes to adopt them out to. One mare that I bred and adore and couldn't quite completely part with, I've signed a co-own on with a riding school. When I've had more time to process the "letting go," I will most likely sign her completely over.

But I guess my point is that, when the choice is between lowering my standard of care or letting them go...I just have to let them go, so that they may live the lifestyle to which I've gotten them accustomed.

Dr. Patty Khuly

LOVE your blog. Thanks for writing about dogs--though I love your other stuff, too. I'm a vet, so you know you've reached me with your understanding attitude towards vets and our relatively puny salaries. Good holistic care can be expensive to come by, too. Because you focus on prevention your bills are bound to be lower. How about yur thoughts on the pet insurance market? I`d love to know. Check me out at dolittler.com. Thanks!

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